7.30.2006,12:32 PM
Lake Loop II: Water, wind and roads

Water and bikes. A juxtaposition yet they seem to complement each other. Now I know why: the roads surrounding the lakes.

Lakes offer titillation in several ways: swimming, sailing or boating, fishing, cool air, and serenity when devoid of teeming human masses. Riding a bike I’ve discovered an added element: the twisting, quiet, narrow, winding, rolling roads. Aside from immersing yourself in the water, a rider can sample the amenities of lakes and extract a thrill by riding their shorelines. You can even occasionally stop and get wet, take pictures or relax and read a book along the way. Riding a bike along the lakes adds a new element of exploration and experience which I enjoy.

Thus the Lake Loop Runs were born.

I've ridden solo around a few of the local lakes but ventured to invite others later. A few of our TWT members have ridden as a group for two Lazy Lake Loop runs thus far. Yesterday (Sat, July 29) was our second Loop as a group. Continuing the tradition set from our first ride, we converged upon the Starbuck’s in Lake Worth before starting at a respectable Saturday morning time of 8:30 am.

Aside from the former Lake Loop riders, new riders joined in. The tally was nine bikes: Four BMWs, four V-stroms and a shiny Honda cruiser.

A sampling of the bikes while we sat outside Starbucks:

Our Fearless Leader, Stephen, again expertly lead and piloted us on narrow and winding lake roads, over speed bumps and pot holes, under canopies of overhanging tree limbs, and navigating gentle and tight turns. Our loop began by brushing the now familiar edge of Lake Worth and headed west. From 1886, we rode the higher open prairie hills, winding our way further west towards Lake Weatherford. We encircled Lake Weatherford, a small lake of 1,210-acres but surrounded by winding and hilly roads. Indeed, we felt the brunt of some strong gusts while riding those open prairie hills.

A pit stop at a gas station at the I-20 and Ranch House junction provided shade, a saddle respite, refreshment and relief.


and Beemers, Oh MY!

Others were filling up at the pumps.

Saddling up again, we rode south on a route running primarily east of FM51, a combination of FM and narrow winding country roads. Although we didn’t stop for any photographic opportunities, trust me that the hill vistas, horse and cattle ranches were scenic. The limestone croppings and stubby trees reminded me of the hill country of central Texas.

On the hill crests, the gusts of wind added an element of excitement and thrill when negotiating tight corners. At one point while leaning into a turn, a gust pushed the bike and I a bit further into that lean. Holding onto my line, a loud “Wooohoooo!!!!!!” escaped from somewhere in my helmet. A grin followed as we regained upright position riding into the straightaway ahead. A few times the gusts pushed moments of the ride from a high on the Woohoo!! Meter into the Holy Shit! Meter.

Winding our way into Granbury over the lake, the lake town opened up before us busy on a hot weekend. We entered the square surrounding the historic courthouse and parked the bikes in a tight group.

Morgan, beside his Honda, holds his head wondering what he got himself into:

Luckily we arrived before noon and were able to freely choose tables and seating at our predetermined lunch spot: Rinky Tinks. We thank Stephen for that candidate which had character inside. The walls were adorned with memorabilia of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. We were even watched over as we ate by a life-sized statue of Elvis.

I intended to buy a gallon or so of ice cream to treat everyone, but when asked, I was told they would only serve individual desserts from the menu. I will have to fulfill my promise another time by bringing a gallon or two of ice cream to either a local meet-and-greet gathering or another ride.

The restaurant filled quickly by noon time and we relinquished our occupied four tables to newcomers. We walked across the bustling street to the courthouse parking lot to gear up and depart our separate ways home. While chatting outside, I looked around me and was reminded of all the various lake towns throughout New York and Maine where I spent my youth and a quarter of my adult life. I smiled at the common theme of small specialty shops, store facades, tourists in shorts and cameras, children in hand, and strings of traffic congested streets. No matter where you go, some things are always the same. Even spanning decades.

My ride home included a relaxing and cool stop in a large comfy chair at the local Starbucks and iced tea. Beginning my ride on 377 north towards Fort Worth, three Harley cruisers fell in staggered position behind me all the way to Hwy 20. They departed east and I departed west. I couldn’t help but be amused by the cruiser ridden by one of the two ladies in the group: she wore a pink beanie helmet, light pink tank top and had a large stuffed gorilla strapped to the sissy bar behind her. I was perplexed by the shorts, tennis shoes and tank top of the lone man riding with them. At least he wore a helmet. But these are the choices we make, I thought, as I cooked in my mesh gear, riding boots and full face helmet.

I noticed a gradual change of color from the brown and dried grass blanketing the land between Granbury and just southwest of Fort Worth. Although slightly more green than south of I-20 west, the heat reminded me that this area would soon follow suit. The gusts of wind were stronger than earlier in the day and I found myself laying my torso on the tank bag to avoid having my head and shoulders tossed all around…still grinning. Sitting upright tends to toss the bike around, having a human extension sticking up like a windmill. On the Whee I find the best way to ride it under these conditions is like a galloping horse; wrap the legs around the engine and fairing like the barrel of a horse, lean forward, weight on the pegs and a relaxed upper torso and grip. Let the bike move underneath me with gentle encouragement in direction. Whee is sometimes just like a galloping thoroughbred.

Exiting on 3325 and riding north, vistas of the rolling and open high plains opened before me and I grinned while riding this highway toward home, knowing it more intimately than the previous roads we rode. I enjoy this route even when driving the truck. That enjoyment was escalated riding it on the bike and I grinned the rest of the way home, oblivious to the heat and gusts tossing me around.

It was a good day, a good ride, on fun roads and with great folks and fellow riders. Thank you all for joining in. Those who didn’t ride with us, you missed a good ride and fun company of riders and bikes.

‘Till next time, this is “I bike for ice cream” TexasShadow, over and out.

posted by Macrobe
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